Brown Outs – In Tailgating Fashion!
I’m sure all my American readers know what tailgating is. And maybe some Aussies and Europeans do also. And for the sake not taking sides in the BREXIT argument, I will put the U.K. in their own category (lol). Tailgating is typically is a term that describes someone driving too closely behind another vehicle. The alternate (North American) version of a definition is attending a social gathering at which an informal meal is served from the back of a parked vehicle, typically in the parking lot of a sports stadium.
“Tailgating” dates back to the birth of college American football when people would gather round wagons prior to the beginning of the game. Now it’s typically 4×4 cars and pick-up trucks with their tailgates down. Fans bring along barbecue grills, tents and even televisions that they will entertain themselves with. Many are decorated with team colors, and will head to the stadium car park to eat, drink and play games, often for several hours before a game begins. Until recently, this was exclusively an American tradition, but now Aussie entrepreneurs are bringing the tailgating experience to Sydney. Great Britain, well… this happy mixing of rival fans is unlikely to happen in the UK. Could anyone begin to imagine Manchester United and Liverpool fans cooking each other burgers in a car park?
Tailgating, it’s a Competition.
Like I previously mentioned, many tailgaters will decorate with team colors with a little extravagance (or a lot) thrown in for good hifalutin measure. Take the parties at “The Grove” in Oxford, Mississippi, home of the Ole Miss Rebels. The Grove is a legendary tailgating area adjacent to the stadium on the main campus and consists of approximately 10 acres (4.0 ha) of grass and trees. On game day, it is typically packed with hundreds of tents, many of which are set up with fine kitchen ware and other amenities. You’ll often find lots of lace and designer doilies, fine china, chandeliers, sterling silver, and fancy candelabras along with fancy BBQ smokers/grills and large custom coolers. Refrigerated keggers – yep! I’ve even seen a tent with two Lazyboy recliners so the revelers could enjoy the game on their big flat panel TV; game signal courtesy of the satellite dish they also brought along. Much of the food is laid out on table cloths in sterling silver or silver-plated servers. Fancy is that fancy does, and it has evolved into a long-standing competition among Grove goers since the 1950’s.
Our recent brown-out this past Saturday forced us once again to head to the beach for an all day outing to beat the heat. This time though, I suggested to my wife that we should make it more interesting. So, in Ole Miss tailgate fashion, she brought along a table setting complete with real plates (no paper plates), wine and wine glasses, and a centerpiece. We enjoyed some polutan (hors-d’oeuvres) with our drinks and then dug into some good ‘ol southern fried chicken with all the fixen’s (okay it was Jollibee’s with home-cooked rice and two cans of corn). It wasn’t all that extravagant. Well, maybe it was… this is the Philippines. We did manage to get some strange looks from a few people but, it was all in fun and we relaxed and enjoyed ourselves as we always do.
We noticed that the cottage next to us did bring some wine… “Gallo.” (It is rather odd to see a wine bottle in place of a Emperador Brandy bottle.) At least ours had a real cork in it! Next time I might look to bring a cheap Chinese lantern that we can hang as a cottage chandelier. Who knows what we might start?